Saturday, December 02, 2006

Conspiracy box office theories of mine

One thing I was thinking of doing with my film degree (will, it was a minor in film in addition to a major in something non-film related, but whatever) was being a box office analyst. I didn't even know who box office analysts were or who hires them (answer: people with backgrounds in business and accounting hired by studios) but I do read movie reports that say "box office analysts predict _____ for this weekend" so I basically wanted to be one of those.

I did think that I was a little smarter than all the box office analysts too, because when they explained the factors of why this movie did or didn't do well, I thought they completely missed some factors.

How about the weather of the weekend the movie opens? The movie theater that I worked at would have business skyrocket if it rained outside or if it was a heat wave. I don't know if weather patterns are nationally constant like that. But what if a storm hits the northeast? That should affect how many people go to the movies and disporportionately affect the ones that are opening that weekend.

Also what if a movie plays 12 times a day rather than 3 times a day? That means there are more hours to wait for the 3X a day movie, so people will usually not want to wait and just go to the movie that's playing sooner. That happens to me a lot when I'm a movie watcher. I asked my manager and he said that movie watchers usually know what they're gonna watch beforehand, and also that isn't an original idea I came up with either. It's fairly well-known that movies with more hype going in and bigger studios backing them will get more theater screens showing on opening day which will get more people seeing those movies since they play more frequently and that will cycle back into its chances of hitting the big time.

How about this? The fact that most people usually don't see movies by themselves. Four summers ago (the movie was Men in Black II), I made a life-changing decision to see movies by myself if I didn't have anyone to see the movie with, and I can't tell you how liberating it's been. You would not believe me unless you experienced it for yourself, but would you guess that it's PRETTY MUCH NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL if you're seeing the movie with other people or by yourself? And on the bright side, you don't have to compromise what movie you want to see, you don't have to work around people's schedules, etc.

But most of America doesn't think like that. Up until when I saw Men in Black II, I didn't think like that either and that means that most of the time when you see a movie, you're not seeing the one you want. If two people on a date see a movie, the man might defer to the woman so maybe that means that a check flick might get an extra run on the tally. In larger groups, let's say one guy takes his kids and his neighbor's kids to a movie and the adult picks the movie. That might be 4 out of 5 not seeing the movie that they chose. I'm not really sure how the dynamics of it all are affected, but whatever that is, the final tallies aren't reflected by the movies that people want to see.

I wonder if maybe we started dispelling the notion that people need to see movies with other people, if improvements would be made in the box office of movies and therefore the quality of movies. This notion is really something that Americans are permanently attached to. People act like seeing a movie by yourself is like drinking alcohol by yourself. Drinking alcohol by yourself is a disease. Seeing a movie by yourself being wrong is just a corporate brainwashing campaign that the movie industry created because it gets them more money to have more poeple in the seats.

It's just like how Americans feel that they HAVE to buy popcorn or something when they come into the movie theater. As a concessionist, I think it's rediculous how many people (probably 50%) spend money inside the movie theater when in 2 hours they can go eat whatever they want at half the prices. I sometimes try to get people to stop buying popcorn, or if they complain about the price of popcorn, I tell them to stop buying it, because if they stopped buying the concessions at outrageous prices, the theater would be forced to bring it down. But, I mean it's not TOO big of a deal to spend money on popcorn. But, it's just interesting how lucky the movie theater industry is that most Americans feel it's just an American thing to do to buy popcorn. It doesn't really benefit the American government, just the Americans who run the movie theaters.

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